A new era of government: agile, responsive, customer centric and closely aligned with the needs of business

Australian governments at all levels have rapidly adapted and shifted focus after a year of unprecedented disruption and continued uncertainty. The public sector has responded to the crisis with flexibility, agility, and by relying on cross-agency collaboration to drive outcomes.

Adaptive decision-making in service redesign, as well as the leveraging and deploying of technological solutions at a rapid pace, has enabled the delivery of much-needed stimulus packages during the crisis. Customer and data centricity are paramount, as we saw with the COVID case numbers and data, driving decision making and overall management of the pandemic and subsequent strides on the road to economic recovery.

KPMG’s new report Modernising Government: Global Trends has shown COVID-19 has given governments around the world an unexpected but revealing glimpse into what is possible. The pandemic has proven the potential of governments to dramatically heighten their agility and slash response times to meet public needs and expectations.

Forward-looking governments are leveraging the momentum they created during the pandemic to focus on innovative initiatives and agile regulations. Collaborative public-private partnerships between various levels of government and business in the last decade have demonstrated the speed and efficiency with which public services and infrastructure can emerge. Governments are enhancing their focus on their role as ‘economic stewards’ – working in closer partnership with private industry to enhance future prosperity.

This evolution has not been without problems, but a new benchmark has been set and citizens expect a different experience.

When we reflect on the progress and review the data we envisage an inviting landscape that reduces the distance between those providing support and those in need; empowering governments and citizens to connect and reducing the barriers to access.

According to Forrester Consulting research commissioned by KPMG, nearly eight out of 10 government organisations say they are putting the customer at the centre, and half say a customer-centric strategy is a high priority for them today.

Other key findings include:

  • More than 50 percent of government organisations rate their customer-centric capabilities as average at best, 16 percent call them ‘less mature’ and about 42 percent rate their customer centricity as ‘about average’.
  • 35 percent cited data security and privacy concerns as the leading barrier to their successful execution of customer-centric strategies.
  • 30 percent of government organisations cited a lack of qualified staff as a barrier to executing customer-centric strategies.
  • 56 percent will be prioritising near-term investment in creating an aligned and empowered workforce.
  • Investment in revolutionary technologies, platforms, systems and processes should be a priority and will reshape governments into a newly responsive, cost-efficient, customer-focused model.

We believe the time has come to modernise the systems and structures of government to be connected and customer-centric, enabled by digital technology, cloud platforms, collaboration with other governments, partnerships with industry, and customer centered design. It’s imperative this shift is supported by new and upskilled civil servants, ultimately revolutionising how governments function in the 21st century.

Modern government has arrived, and the advances made possible through the excruciating hard work of the many public service officials, healthcare professionals, businesses and citizens should be galvanised to continue to improve outcomes for all Australians.

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